Caister Academic Press

Phage Structural Antimicrobial Proteins

Sílvio B. Santos, Luís D.R. Melo and Hugo Oliveira
from: Bacterial Viruses: Exploitation for Biocontrol and Therapeutics (Edited by: Aidan Coffey and Colin Buttimer). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2020) Pages: 419-476.


Bacterial polysaccharides (capsules, lipopolysaccharides, exopolysaccharides and peptidoglycan) play an important role in protection, by blocking the entry of antimicrobials, evading microbial defences and avoiding phage predation. To be able to enter the cell and replicate, phages rely mostly on two structural proteins to break down several host carbohydrate barriers. First, polysaccharide depolymerases are used by phages to bind and degrade the outermost polymers (capsules, lipopolysaccharides and exopolysaccharides) to reach the final host receptor. Second, the virion-associated lysins locally puncture small holes in the rigid cell wall (peptidoglycan) to enable the injection of the phage DNA into the cytoplasm, leading to the subsequent infection and replication of progeny phage. These polysaccharide depolymerases and virion-associated lysins are emerging as alternative antimicrobial agents to control pathogens by either reducing bacterial virulence or lysing bacteria, respectively. Herein we provide a comprehensive critical overview on the diversity of the structure, functions and biotechnological applications of these enzymes. This overview underlines the great potential of using phage structural proteins as anti-virulence and antimicrobial agents to control multidrug resistant pathogens in food, veterinary and human medicine read more ...
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